Food - Drink
Epazote: The Mexican Herb You Should Be Adding To Beans
By NIKITA EPHANOV
Growing your own herbs saves you money and gives you access to ingredients that are far more unique than basil or parsley. For a flavorful herb that's easy to grow, look no further than epazote, which is native to South and Central America and used plentifully in Latin American cuisine, especially in bean dishes.
Epazote plants are between 2-4 feet tall with tooth-shaped leaves. Due to its strong smell and taste, the name of the herb comes from the Nahuatl word for "skunk," but the flavor is far from skunky, with anise, licorice, and eucalyptus notes that add an essential earthy, comforting taste to mole sauces and black beans.
Due to its strong taste, it's best to use epazote sparingly, but the flavor does dissipate with heat, so add entire stems and leaves of the herb to your dish near the end of the cooking process. Besides bean dishes, epazote makes a great addition to stews like pozole, quesadillas, bean-filled sopes, or even corn salad.
Epazote seeds or the whole herb are easy to procure at international grocery stores or online. When buying epazote, don’t be deterred by leaves that are wilted, which won't affect the flavor, but to store the herbs vertically in a vase of water like flowers, or wrap them in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge.